Cinnamon French Toast Bake

I could’ve just opened a few tubes of cinnamon rolls and baked them for Anita to take into the office to treat her co-workers. But that’s just not me. Nothing wrong with a tube of cinnamon rolls (as I’m about to prove). They just need a little help to be even more awesome and this cinnamon French toast bake is definitely more awesome. Fluffy rolls in a cinnamon egg maple French toast batter, covered with chopped pecans, maple syrup and icing. It’s enough to make the other cinnamon rolls sitting in tubes jealous.

There’s nothing I would change about this recipe. Sure this cinnamon French toast bake isn’t light. It’s not low on calories. But it’s mighty good. And since the rolls are cut into small pieces before you bake them you can easily cut and serve smaller portions. If you want to that is.

Cinnamon French Toast Bake

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time55 mins
Cuisine: American
Servings: 12 servings

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup butter melted
  • 2 tubes cinnamon rolls with icing
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup pecans chopped
  • 1 cup plus 1/2 cup real maple syrup

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375° F.
  • Pour melted butter into a 13" x 9" baking dish.
  • Open both cans of rolls. Separate the rolls and cut each into four pieces. Place pieces into the baking dish.
  • Beat the eggs in a medium bowl. Whisk in the cream, cinnamon and vanilla. Pour over the tops of the cinnamon rolls.
  • Sprinkle nuts over tops of rolls and drizzle with 1 cup of the syrup.
  • Bake for 20-30 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for 15 minutes.
  • Drizzle remaining syrup over rolls.
  • Microwave the icing containers on half power for 10-15 seconds. Drizzle over rolls.

Praline Crunch

Praline crunch is the kind of good stuff that you put in a bowl on the table during a football game for guests to snack on and by halfway through the first quarter you are wondering where it all went. “Why didn’t I double it?” is what you’ll be asking yourself, so I’m telling ya right now: double it. Crunchy and just the slightest hint of vanilla. And pecans! I love pecans!

This recipe for praline crunch is pretty flexible. If you aren’t a fan of pecans, shelled peanuts also work fine and do cashews. You can also substitute other cereals, or use a mix. Praline crunch is good no matter what you put into it, just make sure you double the recipe!

Note: I used baking powder because, somehow, I was out of baking soda! You can substitute baking soda by using just 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda versus the 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder.

Also try my caramel crunchy Cheetos!

Praline Crunch

Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr 20 mins
Total Time1 hr 35 mins
Servings: 10 cups

Ingredients

  • 8 cups Original Crispix cereal
  • 2 cups pecans whole, halved, or chopped, whichever you prefer
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar packed
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 250 F.
  • Lightly spray a deep 9" x 13" baking dish with non-stick spray.
  • Combine the cereal and nuts in a large heat-safe bowl.
  • Melt the butter in a medium sauce over medium high heat.
  • Stir in the brown sugar and corn syrup. Stir while bringing to a boil.
  • Remove from heat and whisk in the vanilla and the baking powder until smooth and the baking powder has dissolved.
  • Pour the mixture over the cereal and stir to coat.
  • Pour the mixture into the baking dish and distribute evenly.
  • Bake for 1 hour, stirring carefully every 20 minutes.
  • Pour mixture out onto parchment paper and spread out evenly to a thickness of 1".
  • Let cool then break into pieces and serve.

Smoky Ranch Saltines

Flavored saltines are a favorite snack in our house. They are so easy to make. They are great for travel snacks. You can make them in pretty much any flavor you can think of. From Buffalo wing-flavored, to spicy Fire-Eater saltines, to these smoky ranch saltines, you can’t go wrong with them.If you’re not gentle when tossing the saltines they will crumble and not get fully covered in the flavoring. If you double or triple this recipe make each sleeve of crackers in it’s own bag or you’ll have trouble getting the smoky Ranch seasoning to coat each individual saltine.

Also try my Buffalo wing, Fire-eater and lime pepper saltines.

Smoky Ranch Saltines

Prep Time12 hrs
Total Time12 hrs
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Servings: 30 or so crackers
Author: Mike

Ingredients

For the Saltines

  • 1 sleeve Saltine crackers
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1-2 tablespoons Smoky Ranch seasoning from below

For the Smoky Ranch seasoning (makes approx 7 tablespoons)

  • 2 1 ounce packets dry Ranch seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt

Instructions

For the Saltines

  • Place crackers in a large resealable bag or container.
  • Pour in the oil.
  • Sprinkle with the seasoning.
  • Seal and gently toss to coat.
  • Let sit (on the counter) for 12 hours to get 'happy', tossing gently every once-in-a-while.

For the Smoky Ranch seasoning

  • Combine all ingredients.

Lime Pepper Saltines

It seems that I have a bit of an addiction to flavored saltines. It all started when I made Fire-Eater saltines, which disappeared in no time. I should probably hide them, but then, I’d still know where they are so that isn’t going to help. Guess I’ll try moderation instead. These lime pepper saltines aren’t going to help either. They have just a hint of lime with a great pepper flavor. I was very pleasantly surprised as to just how much I liked them.
Lime Pepper SaltinesI found lime pepper seasoning at our local GFS store, but you can also find a mix like it at your local grocery store. You can also substitute lemon pepper, which seems to be a bit more common.

Also try my Buffalo wing, Fire-eater and smoky Ranch saltines.

Lime Pepper Saltines

Prep Time8 hrs
Total Time8 hrs
Course: Appetizer
Servings: 30 or so crackers
Author: Mike

Ingredients

  • 1 sleeve Saltine crackers low-salt work just fine
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 heaping tablespoon Lime Pepper seasoning

Instructions

  • Place crackers in a large resealable bag or container.
  • Pour in the oil.
  • Sprinkle with the seasoning.
  • Seal and gently toss to coat.
  • Let sit (on the counter) for 12 hours to get 'happy', tossing gently every once-in-a-while.
  • Serve as-is or with cream cheese for topping.

Homemade Pizza Rolls

Back when I was knee-high to a grasshopper I was lucky enough to live right next to my school. That meant that some days I could run home and grab a quick lunch (while watching The Gong Show, but that’s a whole other story). Now, mom usually made me a sandwich or maybe heated some soup, but on rare occasions she’d heat up frozen pizza rolls (at my request… or begging!). I could devour them no matter how many she made and no matter how much they burned the top of my mouth (who waits for them to cool off?).

Well, here I am a few years later. And I still love pizza rolls. But now I make them at home. A little pizza sauce, some baby pepperoni, cheese and a little heat, all wrapped in a wonton wrapper. In no time I’m burning the roof of my mouth again, enjoying the snacks and memories from years ago.
These homemade pizza rolls are great for parties. You can make them ahead of time and freeze them. Bake just before your guests arrive. You can also make all sorts of variations on them, using your favorite pizza toppings. Just don’t use anything too wet, such as canned mushrooms, without first patting it dry. Otherwise the wrappers might get too soggy and they’ll pop while baking.

Also try my pizza pretzel nuggets.

Homemade Pizza Rolls

Note: You can make these ahead and freeze them. Just pop them in a 425 F oven for 15-20 minutes when ready to heat and eat.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time35 mins
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Author: Based on a recipe from Amy's Cooking Adventures

Ingredients

  • 1 5 ounce package mini pepperoni (you can also substitute 1/3 pound cooked Italian sausage, ground fine after cooking and cooling slightly)
  • 8 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 8 ounces pizza sauce plus more for dipping, if desired
  • Red pepper flake to taste
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon water
  • 1 package wonton wrappers

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 425 F.
  • Combine the pepperoni, cheese, sauce, and red pepper flake in a large bowl.
  • In a separate bowl whisk together the egg and water.
  • Working in batches, lay the wonton wrappers out on a flat surface in the shape of a diamond, with one point pointing towards you.
  • Lightly brush the edges of the wrapper with the egg wash.
  • Spoon about a tablespoon of the sauce mixture into the center of the wonton.
  • Grab the topmost (furthest away from you) point of the diamond and fold over the sauce mixture. Press down around the edges to seal.
  • Fold in the left and right sides and press down on the edges to seal.
  • Finally, fold over the bottom side (the point pointing towards you) and then press lightly around the edges to seal. Place seam-side down on a baking sheet lined with foil or use a silpat.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Serve hot with warmed additional pizza sauce for dipping if desired.

Creamed Spinach Deviled Eggs

These creamed spinach deviled eggs were definitely the star of the show when we made them for our Thanksgiving dinner. They looked elegant and they tasted fancy. And yes, I admit, several of them never made it to the platter thanks to some ‘quality control’ by myself and Anita. Hey, you have to make sure they pass the muster (and boy do they)!
You can use frozen spinach if you cannot find fresh. Just make sure that it is completely thawed and drained very well. We spinach will make the filling far too thin.

If you’re taking the creamed spinach deviled eggs to a get-together you can pipe them before leaving. They seem to travel pretty well. I would wait until you get to your destination before adding the crumbled feta.

Also try my jalapeno popper deviled eggs.

Creamed Spinach Deviled Eggs

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Appetizer
Servings: 24 halves

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large shallot minced
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 4 cups loosely packed baby spinach leaves chopped
  • 8 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 hard-boiled eggs cooled, peeled
  • Crumbled feta cheese

Instructions

  • Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add the shallot and garlic and saute until softened and starting to turn golden brown, about 3 minutes.
  • Slowly stir in the spinach, stirring. Cook until wilted and bright green, about 2 minutes.
  • Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl.
  • Stir in the cream cheese. Let cool for 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the mayonnaise, salt and pepper.
  • Slice the eggs in half. Transfer the egg yolks to the spinach mixture and stir until smooth. You might have to add a bit more mayonnaise. You want the mixture to be just thin enough to pipe thru a piping bag or icing tool.
  • Transfer mixture to a piping bag or icing tool and pipe into the center of each egg.
  • Serve topped with the crumbled feta.

Slow-Cooker Bourbon Cocktail Sausages

I wasn’t going to post these slow-cooker bourbon cocktail sausages when I first made them because I didn’t think that the world needs another cocktail sausage recipe. But after making them, and watching them disappear in no time at a family get-together, I decided I just had to share.

Slow-cooker bourbon cocktail sausages are very, very simple, yet very, very delicious. I actually left out the bourbon and was still left with a (just slightly) spicy sauce that was wonderful with the smoked sausage slices.
I used sliced smoked sausage when I made these slow cooker bourbon cocktail sausages, but you could just as easily add Lit’l Smokies cocktail links. Make sure you let everything get happy in the slow cooker for the full 3 hours. The sauce will flavor the sausages over time, so give them time.

Also try my sweet-and-sassy slow cooker appetizer meatballs.

Slow-Cooker Bourbon Cocktail Sausages

Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time3 hrs
Total Time3 hrs 5 mins
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Servings: 8 -10 servings

Ingredients

  • 1 pound smoked sausage cut diagonally into 1/2" slices
  • 1 12 ounce bottle chili sauce
  • 1/3 cup bourbon optional
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons grated white onion
  • Red pepper flake or hot sauce to taste (optional)

Instructions

  • Brown the sausage in a skillet over medium-high heat. Drain well.
  • Combine the chili sauce, bourbon, brown sugar, onion and red pepper flake or hot sauce in the bottom of a slow cooker.
  • Add the sausage and stir.
  • Cook on low for 3 hours.

Slow Cooker White Chocolate Peppermint Pretzel Candy

This slow cooker white chocolate peppermint pretzel candy was divine. I don’t know why I didn’t think of melting chocolate in a slow cooker. I’ve always been somewhat challenged at melting chocolate, be it in the microwave or in a double boiler.

The slow cooker made it as easy as it could be, turning out the perfectly creamy smooth chocolate for these white chocolate peppermint pretzel candies. They are nice and crunchy and packed with peppermint flavor. These were an instant holiday success in our household (and at Anita’s office!).
The chocolate mixture in this slow cooker white chocolate peppermint pretzel candy was very easy to work with. I didn’t have to rush to get the mix onto the baking sheets before it began to set. I had plenty of time to do it right.

This candy was easy to make in part because of the shortening. I think that the low-and-slow melting of the chocolate in the slow cooker also helped. I plan on using this same approach with any future chocolate goodies that I make.

Also try my chocolate-dipped peanut butter Bugles.

Slow Cooker White Chocolate Peppermint Pretzel Candy

Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time1 hr
Total Time1 hr 5 mins

Ingredients

  • 5 tablespoons butter flavored shortening
  • 26 ounces white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1 15 ounce bag pretzel twists, crushed
  • 1/2 cup peppermint candies finely crushed, plus more for topping
  • 3 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips

Instructions

  • Place the shortening into your slow cooker set to low.
  • Add the white chocolate chips. Cover and let melt at least 20 minutes, until creamy smooth, stirring often. Meanwhile, line 3 large baking sheets with parchment paper.
  • Stir in the peppermint extract.
  • Slowly stir in the pretzel pieces and 1/2 cup of the crushed candies. Make sure they are all well combined.
  • Spoon the mixture out onto the baking sheets. Sprinkle with the remaining crushed peppermint candies. Let sit at least 30 minutes until firm.
  • Melt the semi-sweet chocolate chips per the package instructions. Drizzle or pipe over the pretzel candies. Let cool before serving or packaging.